May 23, 2019
Across the entire timeline of an emergency response, there are many key contributors. Of course, there are the physicians, nurses, and medical staff in the hospital that help treat the patient once they are transported by EMS, which is composed of highly trained EMT’s and paramedics who act as the front-line medical response team. Often times there are other agencies, such as fire and police departments, that play a vital role in the process. However, all of the crucial life-saving aspects of emergency medicine would not be possible without the dispatch center.
A look into our highly efficient Communications Center that dispatches for 17 local agencies.
Tasked with a difficult responsibility of gathering important information and extracting key details that some of the aforementioned positions will rely on, our highly trained dispatchers work tirelessly to ensure that all pieces of the process function seamlessly. In fact, there are occasions when a dispatcher will instruct the caller to initiate various life-saving interventions prior to the arrival of other resources.
With the help and instruction of our skilled dispatchers, a total of 6 babies were delivered and 18 cardiac arrest patients were resuscitated in 2018. Just last week, dispatcher Cori Keldsen gave step by step instructions to a high-school teacher when a student went into unexpected cardiac arrest. With Keldsen’s careful instruction of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the application of an automated external defibrillator (AED), the student was saved. Keldson served as a crucial link in the chain of events that ultimately saved the life of a 17 year old student. Her quick actions and prompt aid eventually led to full recovery for the patient. Positive outcomes such as this wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the outstanding teamwork, trust, and execution exhibited by all members of the EMS team.
Our Communications Center management makes sure that the often thankless and behind the scenes role our dispatchers play does not go unrecognized. Each time a dispatcher assists in the delivery of a baby, they receive a lanyard pin with a stork to display in pride. Likewise, when a patient who is transported stat with pulses, or when they delivered CPR instructions to a caller, they receive a lanyard pin with a heart.
“The short amount of time that we ‘touch’ each patient has a lasting effect on not only that patient, but the dispatcher as well. The fact that we can be a part of the saving of a life or the world's receiving of a new life is both remarkable and an honor,” shares Director of Communications, Jamie Martin.
As the primary Communications Center in the Valley, our dispatchers take calls from the more than 1 million citizens of Fresno, Kings and Madera counties. They also dispatch calls for over 17 local first responding agencies including American Ambulance, Valley Childrens Hospital, Fresno Fire, Clovis Fire, North Central Fire Protection District, Pistoresi Ambulance, Sierra Ambulance, Sanger Fire/EMS, Selma Fire/EMS, Kingsburg Fire/EMS, Coalinga EMS,Sequoia Safety Council, Laton Fire, SkyLife for Scene Flights, CHP-H40 for Scene Flights, and the Central California EMS Agency.
Working collaboratively with the Central California EMS Agency, we have developed, implemented, and refined procedures for call prioritization and telephone medical pre-arrival instructions. All of the dispatchers in our Communications Center are certified in Emergency Medical Dispatch and Emergency Fire Dispatch.
Our Communications Center recently received re-accreditation from the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch as an Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE). Fresno County EMS Communications Center is one of just 14 Medical ACEs in the state of California, and one of 218 worldwide. We are proud to be recognized for providing the highest standard of care we proudly provide to our community. You can read more about our Re-accreditation HERE.
Pictured are the pins our dispatchers receive after a code save or baby delivery, and wear on their lanyard.
Dispatchers play a vital role in the intricate EMS system, working day and night to ensure the safety of our community and first responders. We are proud to have one of the most skilled, efficient and accomplished Communications Center in the country.